Miami Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin has announced that John Benton has been promoted to offensive line coach and Jack Bicknell Jr. has been named the team’s assistant offensive line coach.
“With the promotion of John Benton, along with the addition of Jack Bicknell Jr. we have two experienced football coaches who have an impressive history working with and developing quality offensive line units,” said Philbin. “They are both excellent teachers and are highly respected within the coaching community. Both coaches will be great assets to the Miami Dolphins organization.”
Benton originally joined the Dolphins as assistant offensive line coach, a position he was named to on January 29, 2014. He brings 27 years of coaching experience, which includes 17 years in the college ranks and 10 seasons as an NFL assistant, including the last eight seasons as the Houston Texans offensive line coach. While with the Texans, Benton’s offensive line was instrumental in establishing one of the NFL’s top ranked offensive attacks, setting franchise marks rushing yards (2,448) in 2011 and passing yards (4,654) and total offense (6,129 yards) in 2009. Behind All-Pro left tackle Duane Brown and All-Pro center Chris Meyers, Houston’s offensive line paved the way for the emergence of All-Pro running back Arian Foster, who became the 13th fastest player in NFL history to reach 5,000 career rushing yards. En route to 5,000 yards, Foster registered three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (2010-12), a franchise record 25 career 100-yard regular season rushing games and he currently leads the AFC at 90.7 rushing yards per game since 2010.
Prior to joining the Texans in 2006, Benton spent two seasons (2004-05) with the St. Louis Rams, coaching an offensive line which was anchored by All-Pro left tackle Orlando Pace. In 2005, the Rams offensive line helped All-Pro running back Stephen Jackson rush for 1,046, the first 1,000 rushing season of his career.
Benton began his coaching career at Colorado State as a graduate assistant (1987-90) prior to accepting the position of offensive line coach at California University (Pa.) while also serving as the school’s recruiting coordinator (1990-94). Benton returned to Colorado State as the offensive line coach in 1995, a position he held until 2000, when he was named the school’s co-offensive coordinator from 2000-03.
Benton was a four-year starter as an offensive lineman at Colorado State (1983-86), and earned honorable mention All-WAC honors during his junior and senior seasons. He was named to the WAC’s All-Academic team as a senior in 1986. A native of Durango, Colorado, he and his wife, Nicole, have two daughters, Gabrielle and Paige.
Bicknell comes to Miami after spending the 2013 season as the offensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. While in Pittsburgh, Bicknell’s unit paved the way for running back Le’Veon Bell, who amassed 1,259 yards from scrimmage, the most by a Steelers rookie surpassing Franco Harris (1,235) and became just the third Pittsburgh rookie to amass over 1,000 yards from scrimmage. Bell also became the first Steelers rookie to rush for more than 100 yards in a regular season game since the 2004 season when he compiled 124 yards on 26 carries and one touchdown in a Week 16 victory at Green Bay.
Prior to joining the Steelers, Bicknell served as the offensive line coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012 where he directed a unit that was instrumental in helping running back Jamaal Charles return to All-Pro form after a ACL injury cut short his 2011 season. Charles returned in 2012 and set career highs in carries (285) and rushing yards (1,509) en route to his second Pro Bowl selection at the conclusion of the season.
Bicknell began his NFL coaching career with the New York Giants in 2009 and was a member of a coaching staff that helped lead the franchise to its fourth Super Bowl title with a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots on February 5, 2012. During the 2011 season, the Giants’ line anchored an offense that finished fifth in the NFL in passing while only allowing 28 sacks. During his tenure as the Giants offensive line coach, guards Chris Snee and Shaun O’Hara were selected to three straight Pro Bowls each (2009-11). Following his first season with New York, three offensive linemen (Snee, O’Hara and tackle David Diehl) were selected to the 2010 Pro Bowl, marking the first time since 1962 that three Giants from the same position group were selected to the Pro Bowl.
Before entering the NFL coaching ranks, Bicknell spent 24 seasons (1985-2008) coaching on the collegiate level, of which eight seasons were spent as the head coach at Louisiana Tech (1999-2006), where his 43 victories are still the third-most in school history. Following the 2001 season, he was named WAC Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a conference championship in its first year of membership. Bicknell also served as the Bulldogs’ offensive line coach from 1997-98.
Bicknell began his coaching career at his alma mater, Boston College, as a graduate assistant from 1985-86. Following his two seasons with the Eagles, Bicknell joined the staff at the University of New Hampshire in 1987 and spent 10 seasons with the Wildcats coaching the defensive line (1987-92) before moving to the offensive line (1993-96). Bicknell returned to Boston College in 2007 as the Eagles’ assistant head coach/offensive line coach for two seasons (2007-08) before joining the Giants in the NFL.
A three-year letter winner as an offensive lineman, Bicknell played collegiately for his father at Boston College from 1981-85 where he was the center for 1984 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Doug Flutie. It was Bicknell who snapped the ball to Flutie on the final play of the Boston College/Miami game which led to one of the most memorable conclusions to a game in college football history. The Flutie ‘Hail Mary’ game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Gerald Phelan propelled the Eagles over the Miami Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl in 1984. In Bicknell’s final season at Boston College, he was honored with the Scanlon Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a Boston College football player, the Scarminach Award for athletic and academic excellence and the Dean’s Award in the school of education.
Bicknell comes from a family of coaches. His father, Jack, was the head coach at Boston College (1981-90) prior to becoming the head coach of the Barcelona Dragons (1991-03) of NFL Europe. His brother, Bob, has been an assistant coach at the collegiate and professional level since 1993 and in the NFL since 2007 where he been with three different teams including, Kansas City (2007-09), Buffalo (2010-12) and currently is the wide receiver coach in Philadelphia (2013-). Born in North Plainfield, New Jersey, Bicknell attended Orono (Maine) High School. He and his wife, Helen, have three children, John, Katelyn and Alyse.